Skip to main content
i74 HISTORY OF PERSIA CHAP.
enshrined in Longfellow's "Kambalu,"1 according to
which Alau (as Hulagu is named) captured the Caliph, who
headed a sally from Baghdad (termed Baldacca) and was
caught in an ambush. The poem then proceeds :
As in at the gate we rode, behold,
A tower that is called the Tower of Gold !
For there the Kalif had hidden his wealth,
Heaped and hoarded and piled on high,
Like sacks of wheat in a granary ;
And thither the miser crept by stealth
To feel of the gold that gave him health,
And to gaze and gloat with his hungry eye
On jewels that gleamed like a glow-worm's spark,
Or the eyes of a panther in the dark.
I said to the Kalif: " Thou art old,
Thou hast no need of so much gold.
Thou shouldst not have heaped and hidden it here,
Till the breath of battle was hot and near,
But have sown through the land these useless hoards
To spring into shining blades of swords,
And keep thine honour sweet and clear.
These grains of gold are not grains of wheat;
These bars of silver thou canst not eat;
These jewels and pearls and precious stones
Cannot cure the aches in thy bones,
Nor keep the feet of Death one hour
From climbing the stairways of thy tower ! "
Then into his dungeon I locked the drone,
And left him to feed there all alone
In the honey-cells of his golden hive :
Never a prayer, nor a cry, nor a groan
Was heard from those massive walls of stone,
Nor again was the Kalif seen alive ! 2
The sack of Baghdad lasted for a week, during which
nearly one million of its inhabitants were massacred.
Writing forty-four years after, the event, the author of
the Kitab-ul-Fakhri refers to it in the following words :
"Then ^there took place such wholesale slaughter and
unrestrained looting and excessive torture and mutilation
as it is hard to hear spoken of even generally ; how think
1 Kambalu or Xanadu is Khan-baligh or Pekin.
2 I wonder wketfie; Marcp ?0k>'s account of Baghdad inspired Longfellow to write